A strong customer relationship management (CRM) system is crucial for businesses. A robust CRM system can help manage customer data, track interactions, and nurture leads, acting as the backbone of your business operations.
For digital marketing agencies, the stakes are even higher. These agencies often work with numerous clients across various industries, and finding the best CRM for digital marketing agencies is essential for managing strategies and tracking outcomes. A reliable CRM tool can offer insights to enhance customer engagement, improve processes, and drive growth.
However, not all CRM tools are created equal. Some shine in terms of usability and interface, others in their integration capabilities, and a few are lauded for their advanced analytical features. Identifying the right platform for your agency demands a clear understanding of your requirements, budget, and the scope of your operations.
In this article, we take a close look at some of the top CRM tools available: Monday, Pipedrive, HubSpot, Keep, Capsule, Insightly, and Podio, and give you a comprehensive guide in choosing the best CRM for your digital marketing agency.
Monday CRM stands out as a customizable, client-centric platform that streamlines workflows from lead generation to post-project support. Its intuitively designed interface features a broad array of folders and boards, offering up to 50 columns for effective project management and lead tracking.
Key Features & User Experience
Monday CRM excels in providing a detailed and thorough customer relationship management solution. Its key features include:
- Comprehensive Sales Cycle View: Monday gives a holistic picture of your client’s sales cycle, enabling swift pinpointing and resolution of potential issues.
- Extensive Customization: The platform offers robust customization capabilities, allowing agencies to monitor each nuance of the sales process effectively.
- Impressive Native Integration: Monday can seamlessly merge with frequently used tools like Gmail, Excel, and DocuSign, ensuring a smooth workflow.
- Marketing Functions: With the specialized tool ‘Monday Marketer,’ the platform handles marketing campaigns efficiently, offering campaign tracking, email marketing, and social media marketing capabilities.
- Valuable Templates: Monday offers templates for strategy, calendar, and campaign management. These templates facilitate real-time tracking, collaborative scheduling, and campaign status tracking, with the added bonus of marketing automation.
However, potential users should be aware of the platform’s steep learning curve due to its high level of customizability. Nevertheless, for agencies that prioritize comprehensive integration, detailed customization, and robust tracking, Monday CRM emerges as a solid choice.
- Excellent dashboard environment
- Fantastic for beginners
- Range of features like time tracking and budgeting
- Suitable for larger teams
- Built for multiple. users
- Supports extensive integrations for CRM and marketing
- Visual boards allow for accurate tracking
- Offers alternative views
- Highly customizable platform for tracking task progress
- Offers extensive real time collaboration features
- Simple and intuitive dashboard
- No free version
- Basic plan offers very limited functionalities
- Doesn’t offer a Gantt chart view option
- Requires a bit of learning curve –you will need to dedicate time to learning the platform
Best Cost-Effective Option
Pipedrive is a CRM platform recognized for its potential to significantly increase close rates, with users reporting an average rise of 28% after their first year. It offers a high level of customization, automation, and integration, making it a strong contender in the CRM space.
Key Features & User Experience
Pipedrive stands out as a functional CRM solution, designed for simplicity and affordability while offering extensive features:
- Ease of Use: Pipedrive facilitates the creation of custom pipelines and stages, and the automation of workflows. It provides efficient tracking of revenue and team performance through customizable dashboards.
- Seamless Integration: Syncing Pipedrive with Google or Microsoft contact lists and calendars is swift and easy. The platform also boasts over 150 integrations in its app marketplace, extending its capabilities even further.
- Email Marketing Automation: “Campaigns by Pipedrive” feature integrates email marketing automation into the workflow. It triggers automatic emails based on changes to your Pipedrive data, enabling the design of automated drip email flows and autoresponders for constant contact with prospects.
- Nurture Campaigns: A standout feature is the ability to link lead generation and nurturing activities. These nurture campaigns can be automatically sent to new leads in your contact list, allowing you to measure your success rate via the analytics dashboard.
- Campaign Creation and Scheduling: With Pipedrive, you can quickly create workflows from the platform’s sales and marketing templates or build one with the WYSIWYG editor. Scheduling drip campaigns to reach the right people at the right time can greatly boost your email open rates.
One potential drawback is Pipedrive’s strong focus on email marketing automation, which might not suit agencies that don’t rely heavily on email marketing or those with a dedicated email marketing platform. Nonetheless, Pipedrive’s commitment to automation, seamless integrations, and comprehensive feature set make it a solid CRM choice for many digital marketing agencies.
- Straightforward and intuitive user interface
- Unlimited custom fields for collecting customer information
- Easily track deals, values, and win probabilities
- Access custom reports to track recurring revenue
- Examine individual sales calls, emails, and demos
- Unlock source data reports to track where leads come from
- Access AI sales assistance support
- Limited functionality for bigger businesses
- Problems with list separation
Best Customizable Option
HubSpot CRM is lauded for its generous free plan, accompanied by premium features via its sales, marketing, and service hubs. The platform’s strength lies in its ability to manage client interactions seamlessly, bolstering sales leads through effective inbound marketing, easily scaled as your business grows.
Key Features & User Experience
HubSpot stands out as a robust CRM solution offering a rich selection of features and a strong emphasis on adaptability and scalability:
- Detail-oriented CRM: HubSpot excels in logging emails and phone conversations, providing a comprehensive timeline of a lead’s journey from prospect to client.
- Cost-Effective: One of the key selling points of HubSpot is its free edition, which competes strongly with many paid CRM solutions available in the market.
- Extensive Integrations Marketplace: HubSpot offers an expansive integrations marketplace, enabling thousands of agencies to seamlessly incorporate the tools they need to support their clients effectively.
- Modular and Scalable Tools: HubSpot’s platform and tools are modular, allowing for customization and scalability as per your business needs. This adaptability makes it an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.
- Adaptable to Business Sizes: Whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, HubSpot’s scalable tools are designed to meet your specific needs, setting it apart from many other CRM systems.
One potential drawback to consider is that while the core CRM platform is free, additional features offered through HubSpot’s sales, marketing, and service hubs are paid. Therefore, agencies should plan their budgets carefully if they intend to integrate these additional features into their operations. Despite this, HubSpot’s feature-rich selection, adaptability, and scalability make it one of the best CRM for digital marketing agencies.
- HubSpot is a real all-in-one CRM solution
- It has great supplemental content
- You get email marketing support and social media scheduling features
- Completely free plan perfect for beginners
- Wide range of additional sales and marketing suites available
- Access to live chat functionality and chatbots
- Form building and lead capture information access
- Team email and conversations inbox to align discussions
- Free list segmentation and email marketing
- Ad management tools to track Facebook, Google, Instagram, and LinkedIn ROI
- Lets users keep all their marketing data in one centralized place
- Extensive integration partners
- Access to Hubspot Academy
- Platform easily scales to your needs
- Offers a free version
- Squeaky-clean integration
- Big on mobile optimization
- HubSpot does not have an e-commerce platform
- It is expensive considering all the features you’re getting
- The user experience can be overwhelming for some folks
- Can be expensive when used with other HubSpot “hubs”
- Free version is only suitable for beginners
- More expensive than alternative options
- Limited customizablility and configurations
- Pricing plans are complex and get expensive quickly
- The all-encompassing features can be tricky to harness
- Customer support could be stronger given the tool’s scope
Best All-Around Platform
Formerly known as Infusionsoft, Keap has built a reputation as one of the best all-around CRM solutions for digital marketing agencies. It offers a broad set of features that extend beyond the core functionalities of a typical CRM, making it a versatile tool for managing customer relationships and business processes.
Key Features & User Experience
Keap is a versatile CRM platform offering a comprehensive suite of features that are designed to streamline business operations and automate sales and marketing efforts:
- Broad Suite of Tools: Keap provides an array of features that cater to various aspects of a digital marketing agency’s operations, including invoicing, quotes, payments, and appointment scheduling.
- Automation Capabilities: The platform’s strength lies in its robust automation abilities that enhance efficiency and provide flexibility to your sales and marketing processes.
- Email Marketing Features: Keap also excels in its email marketing capabilities, offering an extensive library of functional email templates that cater to a wide range of opportunities.
- Advanced Segmentation: With Keap, agencies can segment their contact list based on various criteria such as industry and content interactions. This, coupled with built-in A/B and split testing, auto spam checking, and intelligent email sends, can significantly improve conversion rates.
- Value for Money: Despite its higher price point, Keap offers value by integrating invoicing and payment features, potentially eliminating the need for additional tools.
Businesses seeking a more straightforward CRM solution may find Keap’s extensive feature set and comprehensive automation capabilities a bit overwhelming though. Keap’s higher price tag might deter smaller agencies with limited budgets as well. Despite these potential drawbacks, Keap’s robust automation, advanced segmentation, and comprehensive tool suite make it a strong choice for digital marketing agencies.
Best for Integrations
Capsule has garnered attention as a reliable CRM, particularly noted for its seamless integration with accounting tools like Xero, FreeAgent, and QuickBooks. Its comprehensive functionality positions Capsule as an exceptional choice for agencies aiming to foster client relationships, manage projects from inception to billing, and keep a finger on the pulse of new and potential deals.
Key Features & User Experience
Capsule CRM is a user-centric platform that provides a suite of features designed to streamline sales management and integrate seamlessly with key accounting tools:
- Sales Pipeline Management: Capsule enables users to effectively manage opportunities within the sales pipeline and organize client-facing activities and projects. Its sales dashboard provides a succinct summary of opportunities, including potential values, their positioning in the sales pipeline, and subsequent necessary action steps.
- Comprehensive Contact Monitoring: Capsule’s strength lies in its ability to store and monitor all contacts. This extends to opportunities, vendors, leads, and customers, offering a competitive advantage over other CRM systems.
- Team Collaboration: Capsule allows for easy team creation and assignment of opportunities to selected sales representatives, facilitating efficient project management.
- Robust Accounting Integrations: Capsule stands out for its compatibility with popular accounting tools such as QuickBooks, Xero, and FreeAgent, thereby enhancing its functionality and utility for businesses with significant accounting needs.
While Capsule offers strong sales management features and robust accounting integrations, companies requiring integrations with other types of software might find their needs not fully met. However, its comprehensive contact monitoring and effective management of sales opportunities make Capsule CRM a dependable choice for digital marketing agencies that require a strong bridge between sales and accounting functions.
Best for Analytics
Insightly stands as a great CRM solution that integrates marketing, sales, and project management within a single platform. It caters specifically to the needs of small to medium-sized teams who seek a unified system to manage their diverse tasks, with a strong focus on reporting and analytics.
Key Features & User Experience
Insightly CRM is a productivity and data management platform centered on automating key business processes. Its user experience and robust feature set are designed to enhance control over sales and project management:
- Unique Relationship-Linking Feature: A standout feature, this tool grants users extra control over sales and project management operations.
- Lead Routing: This function tracks the most relevant lead information, aiding in prompt and informed decision-making.
- Pipeline Management: Insightly offers a clear visualization of where client pitches sit in the sales funnel, enabling effective tracking and management.
- Customizable Dashboards: Users can create personal dashboards highlighting specific contexts, workflows, and metrics, allowing for a tailored user experience.
- Third-Party Integrations: The platform integrates with popular applications such as Gmail, Dropbox, and Outlook, enhancing its versatility and adaptability.
A primary advantage of Insightly CRM lies in its seamless unification of marketing, sales, and project management. This integration saves time and resources by eliminating the need for separate tools. Additionally, the availability of a free plan for two users, albeit with certain limitations, offers small teams or startups the chance to utilize CRM capabilities without a significant financial investment.
However, Insightly may not be the optimal choice for larger teams or those with complex sales processes. Although the platform offers customization, it may lack the necessary depth for intricate sales operations. Furthermore, while Insightly integrates with several popular applications, organizations requiring specific or niche integrations may find the options somewhat restrictive.
- Compatible with Android and iOS devices
- Visual dashboards for tracking important metrics
- Data integrity, security, and regulatory compliance
- Highly flexible appointments, calendaring, and events
- Automated tracking and updates
- Customer support offered through a range of platforms
- Convenient and intuitive interface
- No live chat support
- Only available in one language
Best for Communication
Podio is a dynamic CRM platform notable for its strong focus on seamless communication. Integrating project management within a single workflow, Podio facilitates efficient interaction among team members. Its unique fusion of account management, project collaboration, and centralized communication tools makes it an unrivaled asset for many leading agencies worldwide.
Key Features & User Experience
Podio CRM distinguishes itself not only through its robust lead and client-tracking features but also through its prioritization of streamlined communication:
- Lead and Client Tracking: Users can capture contact information via integrated web forms, assign tasks, and gain insights into crucial touchpoints such as the last interaction with a lead.
- Integration with Citrix and Third-Party File-Sharing Modules: Podio’s integration with Citrix content collaboration tools and platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote adds context to files and conversations and facilitates easy organization and retrieval of files in the future.
- Automation of Sales Pipelines and Workflows: Coupled with visually appealing dashboards, Podio’s automation capabilities provide a comprehensive business overview, informing strategic decision-making.
A key advantage of Podio lies in its integrated approach to CRM and project management. Podio provides a unified workflow from tracking leads in the CRM to sharing project deliverables with clients, creating an easily visible and comprehensible process for all involved. Podio also places a strong emphasis on centralizing communication, coupled with real-time reports on team progress and resource allocation. This facilitates improved collaboration and timely project completion.
Take note, Podio’s versatility and integrated system may present a steep learning curve for some, especially those unfamiliar with combined CRM and project management systems. Additionally, teams seeking more intricate CRM functionalities might find Podio’s project management-centric design less suited to their needs.
What to Look for in the Best CRM for Digital Marketing Agencies
The best Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps a digital marketing agency streamline its processes, improve customer relationships, and drive business growth. It’s crucial to thoroughly research and consider various options before making a decision. Choosing the right system for digital marketing agencies requires thoughtful consideration of several key factors:
Ease of Use
The CRM platform should have a user-friendly interface and be easy to navigate. Even with advanced features, a CRM tool should be intuitive to ensure all team members can use it effectively.
Digital marketing agencies often have unique needs. The best CRM system should be customizable to adapt to these requirements, such as different sales processes or client tracking methods.
The CRM should easily integrate with other tools used by the agency. This includes email platforms, social media, project management tools, and accounting software. Seamless integration allows for better workflow and can improve productivity.
As the agency grows, so too should the CRM. The system needs to be capable of handling increased data volume and additional users without performance issues.
A good CRM for a digital marketing agency should have robust marketing automation features. These can include email marketing, social media scheduling, and lead generation automation, which can save time and streamline processes.
Analytics and Reporting
The CRM should provide comprehensive analytics and reporting features. It should be able to track leads, conversions, customer behavior, and other important metrics that provide insights into marketing strategies.
Last but not least, the cost of the CRM system should fit within your agency’s budget. Some CRMs are even free but may offer limited functionality. Most however offer tiered pricing plans based on features, which is ideal for growing businesses, so it’s essential to choose a plan that provides the capabilities you need without unnecessary extras.
The Best CRM for Digital Marketing Agencies FAQs
Why does a digital marketing agency need a CRM?
A digital marketing agency can greatly benefit from a CRM as it can help manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. This can enhance customer service relationships, assist in customer retention, and drive sales growth. It can also help in keeping track of client details, project progress, and sales pipelines, all in one place.
Which CRM is best for small digital marketing agencies?
The “best” CRM can depend on the agency’s specific needs. For small agencies, options like HubSpot CRM (for its free plan and scalable features) or Capsule (for its strong integrations with accounting tools) could be great fits. However, the best CRM will ultimately be the one that fits the agency’s specific needs, budget, and workflow.
Is CRM software expensive?
The cost of CRM software can vary widely. Some CRM platforms offer free tiers, while others might cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month, depending on the number of users and the range of features required. Many CRM providers offer tiered pricing plans, so businesses can select a plan that fits their needs and budget.
Can a CRM help with project management?
Yes, many CRM systems include project management features, enabling teams to track and manage client projects within the same system that they use for customer relationship management. This can help streamline processes and improve efficiency. CRMs like Podio and Insightly have a strong focus on project management functionalities.
How does a CRM integrate with other software?
Most CRM systems can integrate with other software such as email platforms, social media networks, accounting software, and more. These integrations allow data to be shared between systems, making processes more efficient and ensuring that all relevant information is easily accessible within the CRM. The specific integration capabilities will depend on the CRM system.
Choosing the best CRM for a digital marketing agencies
Finding the best CRM for a digital marketing agency isn’t easy. Whatever platform you choose requires careful consideration. Each one offers unique benefits tailored to the diverse needs of agencies and the wide range of options underscores the importance of a thoughtful selection process for a CRM tool. Remember, this choice can significantly impact the efficiency of the agency’s operations and its long-term success.